CENTER FOR DEMOCRACY AND RECONCILIATION IN SOUTHEAST EUROPE

News

31Mar

Apply for a spot in Hands on the Balkans!

28 March 2014 – Applications are now being accepted for the Hands on the Balkans program, a blend of skill-building and field-experience seminars set to take place this coming summer in Belgrade, Serbia.

The seminars are geared to provide emerging professionals, as well as students and graduates of political science, with on-site educational experience in international development in the Balkans and to hone their skills as policymakers, practitioners of international development, civil servants, and civil society activists.

The seminars will take place July 11 to 21, and August 15 to 25. For more information on program activities, as well as applying, check out our Web site at http://www.hobseminar.com and our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/hobseminar. Some funding will be available to select applicants.

There will be three application rounds. Deadlines for each are April 30th, May 31st, and June 10th, 2014. To apply, send your CV, contact information and the seminar you are interested in attending to office@hobseminar.com. Please direct any questions to the same email address, and we will get back to you quickly!

31Mar

CDRSEE to Host Panel Discussion at 24th Economic Forum in Poland

The CDRSEE has partnered with the Institute for Eastern Studies from Warsaw to cooperate in the organisation of a discussion panel, Are Divided Memories a Threat to a United Europe?

The Panel will be part of the 24th Economic Forum to be held between September 2 - 4, 2014 in Krynica Zdroj, Poland. The CDRSEE will gather a small group of prominent individuals to speak at the panel. The speakers, representing different countries and backgrounds, will constitute of politicians, businessmen, journalists, NGO representatives, and academics with profound knowledge on the panel’s theme. The panel will be moderated by the CDRSEE’s executive director or other senior official.

The Forum will address the social, political, and economic consequences of the global crisis and challenge the established economic theory that has been the staple of financial institutions throughout Europe. Discussion will also center on Europe’s revision to social policy, as well as relations with emerging economic powers, competitiveness, and the development of a stronger and more durable economy.

Read more about the 24th Economic Forum here: http://www.forum-ekonomiczne.pl/

26Mar

CDRSEE' Executive Director at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly

Sarajevo, 18-20 March – The NATO Parliamentary Assembly invited the CDRSEE’s Executive Director, Nenad Sebek, to speak at its 85th ROSE-ROTH Seminar held in Sarajevo.

Parliamentarians, ministers, military officers and policy makers attended the seminar, on “Security and Democratisation in the Western Balkans: Consolidating Stability, Pushing Reforms”.

Mr. Sebek  provided attendees with a view from civil society on “The Prospects for EU and NATO Enlargement in the Western Balkans”. He was one of four on a panel discussing the civil society angle.

 

07Mar

CDRSEE Launches Seminars in International Development in Belgrade

March 6, 2014, Belgrade - We have just launched our most recent initiative, Hands on the Balkans (HoB). Hands on the Balkans is a blend of skill building and field experience seminars set to take place this coming summer in Belgrade, Serbia. The seminars are geared to provide emerging professionals, as well as students and graduates of political science, with on-site educational experience in international development in the Balkans and hone their skills as policymakers, practitioners of international development, civil servants, and civil society activists.

We are implementing these seminars because we deem it essential that emerging professionals and practitioners of social sciences have actual field-based experience to compliment their academic education. Over the course of our 15-year existence, we have often come across policymakers, practitioners of international development, civil servants, and civil society activists who lack critical knowledge and are unfamiliar with the politics of the regions and communities they are operating in. In order to understand the realpolitik of transition and development, practitioners working in the region and beyond require a reliable means of contact with relevant actors on the field. Direct access and contact with local organizations, NGOs, politicians, and journalists in tune with a supplementary program curriculum would be valuable in equipping practitioners of the region with the tools to solve major policy issues, as well as with helping them gain a heightened awareness of the organization, personnel, and services of government as they relate to development.

We have secured funding for a limited number of participants. To read more about the seminars, nominate or apply, visit the HoB web and Facebook pages.

www.hobseminar.com

https://www.facebook.com/hobseminar

23Dec

Teachers Coalesce to Exchange Best Practices in Belgrade

 

December 21st - 22nd 2013, Belgrade - The CDRSEE implemented a teacher training workshop this past weekend in Belgrade, Serbia. Thirty teachers from throughout the country gathered to collaborate and discuss best methods of educating JHP workbooks to their pupils. The trainings took place in Hotel Park, near Belgrade’s Slavija center.

Over the course of two days, Goran Miloradovic led the trainings and discussion amongst the participating teachers. Along with breaking into working groups to collectively assess the teaching material from the workbooks, several teachers presented on their experience in teaching the workbooks in their classrooms. The presentations were lively and displayed the experience with which the teachers command the attention of their students. This approach was very beneficial to the teachers as they listened and discussed the first-hand experience of their colleagues instead of being lectured at length as is customary in many educational institutions throughout the Balkans. In a very open setting, the teachers debated and discussed their comprehension of the material, as well as most efficient means of teaching it to their students. Following close collaboration over the weekend, the teachers bonded and strengthened their newly formed networks. Several of the teachers expressed their gratitude for being invited and commended the well-organized logistics of the seminar.  

20Dec

21st Board Meeting Held in Thessaloniki

December 16, 2013, Thessaloniki – The CDRSEE held its 21st Board Meeting in its home town of Thessaloniki on December 16th. The meeting was held on the margins of the regional conference that the CDRSEE organised to discuss its JHP project and history education reform. It was an opportune moment to best utilize the time and efforts of the CDRSEE’s dedicated Board members. The convened to discuss the Center’s achievements and challenges faced over the past year, as well as assess the future direction of the Center. Nearly all Board members were in attendance and were able to reach the necessary consensus on matters of discussion. The CDRSEE’s Board and staff members look forward to an exciting year that should push forward the Center’s flagship projects as well as witness the realization of new initiatives. 

18Dec

Review of the state of the media across the Balkans and beyond - commentaries and talking points

December 4, 2013, Brussels - The European Parliament event in December 2013 that highlighted the success of the current affairs talk show Vicinities also included a review of the state of the media across the Balkans and beyond. Below find links to commentaries and talking points addressing both.

Introduction, Hedvig Morvai, Executive Director, EFB
pdf file, 210 kb

Speaking points, Fabrice de Kerchove, Chair of the EFB, Project Manager at King Baudouin Foundation
pdf file, 315 kb

What is Vicinities?, Nenad Sebek, Executive Director, CDRSEE
pdf file, 300 kb

 

16Dec

CDRSEE Gathers Teachers, Academics, Board and Staff Members at Regional Conference on Education Reform

December 13th - 15th 2013, Thessaloniki - The CDRSEE gathered educational experts, teachers, prominent board members, and its staff to discuss education reform and novel methods in history teaching at the regional conference His Story or History: Europe in the Trap of Populism. The conference took place in the CDRSEE’s home town of Thessaloniki at the Mediterranean Palace Hotel between December 13th and 15th, 2013.

The conference was aimed at policymakers, ministers, historians, political scientists, education experts, and teacher associations throughout South East Europe. The overarching purpose was to help tackle some of today’s challenges to history education and teaching collective history. The conference aspired to find answers to several troubling questions that face education in our communities. Some of the most outstanding issues included: Is social science underrepresented in academic curricula? How can we evaluate how well education and students are performing? Is history dividing us or helping us come together? These, and many other questions, were discussed and debated over three days of panel discussions, side meetings, and focus groups. 

The conference was opened with keynote speeches by members of the CDRSEE Board of Directors, Dusan Reljic and Nikos Efthymiadis. The first panel, History as a Battlefield in the Vortex of Crisis, was moderated by Tim Judah and raised important issues on how can educators from throughout the region better synchronize their efforts to have a common, and at the same time multi-perspective and varied, curricula for teaching history. Professors from Athens, Belgrade, Istanbul, Zagreb, Sofia, Ljubljana, and Nicosia proposed better methods of collaboration and cross-border cooperation.

The second panel focused on how we can get the most out of education, have it stimulate critical thinking, and mitigate our vulnerabilities to populism. The CDRSEE’s Board Member, Costa Carras, opened the dialogue which was followed by stimulating, and at times comical, insight by the CDRSEE’s Board Chairman and former Vice Chancellor of Austria, Dr. Erhard Busek. Among his more notable points was a reminder of the need for teachers, educators, and all those concerned with progress and development, to remain cognizant of the changed medium in which we find ourselves in. This new paradigm includes a new frontier for Europe, an altered landscape due to migration and changes in labor, and the increasing adoption of new media and novel technologies. Following a brief coffee break, the discussion on reforming education end educational methods continued. Dr. Snjezana Koren of the University of Zagreb reiterated the need for history education to be an inclusive and collaborative endeavor, while Prof. Andreas Demetriou, the former Minister of Education and Culture of Cyprus, stressed the importance of education remaining independent and free of populism and political agendas. The CDRSEE’s Director of Programmes, Corinna Noack-Aetopulos, followed with detailed insight on the teaching methodology manual which is currently being launched and attempting to mitigate some of the challenges addressed throughout this conference. The panel took several questions from the audience which stimulated a dynamic debate on the importance and contextual relevance of PISA's educational rankings. 

The last day of the conference split participants into three working groups: teachers planning a shared regional agenda, consultations among the CDRSEE's teachers committee, and improving education vertically and horizontally.

Following, a concluding panel ensued that aimed to sum up the developments of the conference and assess what the future holds for history education in South East Europe, as well as the future direction of the CDRSEE. While much praise was given to teachers, education experts, the CDRSEE board and staff, and other participants of this extensive initiative, it was evident that more hard work is ahead. Among the most notable conclusions at this final panel derived at was the need to reach out to even further groups of teachers and educators in our region, establish a permanent education committee that will have the capacity to review and select workbook material, and to ensure collaboration and raise awareness among representatives of the European Commission focused on education. Furthermore, this unique initiative of education reform in South East Europe needs to acquire broad support from education ministers from the countries in which it operates and it stands a chance of being a truly successful initiative that will be replicated far beyond our region.

All pictures taken by Predrag Tratnik.